The Roundup Top Ten for December 23, 2021



This is our last Roundup Top Ten of 2021. All year we've been selecting the best opinion, long-form, and "thinkpiece" writing by historians (and some other scholars too) from around the web each week. Our Roundup features the best of established and emerging voices in the profession, and is a vital part of the service we provide our community of readers to offer historical perspective on the news. If you value that service, please support HNN by contributing to our annual reader fund drive.

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Roundup Top 10


HNN Tip: You can read more about topics in which you’re interested by clicking on the tags featured directly underneath the title of any article you click on.

Out of Context COVID Stats are Misleading

by Jim Downs

The first epidemiologists worked in a narrative mode, without advanced statistical measures. Without discarding quantitative methods, the field needs to refocus on telling evidence-based stories about the pandemic to clarify what's working, what isn't, and what people should do. 


The Dangers of Compromise on Voting Rights

by Rachel Shelden

Are moderate Democrats seeking bipartisan support for voting rights legislation repeating the errors of the antebellum legislators who misunderstood the South's commitment to securing slavery at any cost including secession? 



Grief Is Evidence of Love

by Kellie Carter Jackson

The resurgence of the pandemic is an opportunity to reflect on the late theorist and public intellectual bell hooks, who "gave me... the language to understand grieving and healing as radical, communal acts."



Learning Lessons from "It's a Wonderful Life"

by Christopher Wilson

"With a panel of experts including the Smithsonian’s Lintelman, historian Jason Higgins, film critic Nell Minow, Leo Landis, curator of the State Historical Society of Iowa (the home state of actor Donna Reed who played Mary Bailey), and Reed’s daughter, Mary Owen, we explored American history as presented in a holiday favorite."



America as a Tactical Gun Culture

by Chad Kautzer

"Vigilantism is fueled by an individualist notion of sovereignty more dangerous than any military-grade weaponry. It rejects the freedom of others as equal to one’s own and views any attempt to support such equality as tyranny."



History Can Guide Fixes for America's Abysmal Maternal and Infant Health Outcomes

by Michelle Bezark

The brief history of the U.S. Children's Bureau shows that treating the health of mothers and infants as a national issue can get results. 



What "Big History" Misses

by Ian Hesketh

"Big History" has become established in the popular media and in some academic quarters, telling global-scale narratives of human and even planetary history. After 30 years, it's time to evaluate its successes and failures. 



The Danger of Media Consolidation isn't New: Ask Upton Sinclair

by Maia Silber

Upton Sinclair saw the problems of the media in terms of profit and power. Walter Lippmann saw them in terms of psychology and trust. What were the consequences of Lippmann's diagnosis winning out? 



Puerto Rican History Deserves More than a Mural

by Jacqueline Lazú

Instead of rehashing "West Side Story," Hollywood should tell the story of Chicago's Young Lords Organization. 



The Magnificent History of the Much-Maligned Fruitcake

by Jeffrey Miller

A quip attributed to former “Tonight Show” host Johnny Carson has it that “There is only one fruitcake in the entire world, and people keep sending it to each other.”




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